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WB’s Eatery puts some punch into Dry January

By Valerie Phillips - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jan 26, 2022
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Vivi and Amy Wanderley-Britt, owners of WB’s Eatery, pose with no-alcohol cocktails for Dry January.
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No-alcohol versions of Caipirinha and Spicy Granddaddy Purple cocktails at WB’s Eatery in Ogden.
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WB's Eatery in Ogden offers bottled no-alcohol drinks to take home.
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Vinny Pimenta, mixologist at WB’s Eatery, offers virtual classes for cocktail making, either with or without alcohol.

Want to finish out your Dry January in style? WB's Eatery in Ogden has you covered. Not just with no-alcohol craft cocktails, but also alcohol-free wine and alternatives to whiskey, gin, rum, bourbon or tequila to sip at home, plus all the bar equipment you'll need to serve your own "dry" cocktails.

For those unfamiliar with the term, "Dry January" is a challenge to abstain from alcohol after the "eat, drink and be merry" excesses of the holidays. It formally began in 2013 as a public health initiative by a British charity called Alcohol Change UK to "ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline and save some serious money by giving up alcohol for 31 days."

The idea has gained worldwide traction as a way to sample sobriety without getting overwhelmed about giving up alcohol forever. On social media, there are at least 20 different Dry January groups on Facebook, some with thousands of members. There's also a fledgling Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association, with brand members that produce nonalcoholic beer and other beverages.

Of course, in a state with a high number of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members, many Utahns are "dry" every month of the year, without realizing "Dry January" is even a thing.

Some may wonder what the point is of drinking a wine or cocktail if there's no buzz to it. And others may wonder why go to all the trouble to mimic drinks that contain alcohol, instead of just sticking with soda pop, seltzer or good old-fashioned water.

But WB's Eatery owners Amy and Vivi Wanderley-Britt, who both stopped drinking alcohol over seven years ago, want their customers to feel they are in control of their own lifestyle. Whether it's due to health concerns, losing weight or avoiding a DUI on the drive home -- it's a matter of accepting other people's choices, they say.

"We believe that you should be able to participate in whatever anyone else is having, but without the alcohol," said Amy Wanderley-Britt. "You are able to feel inclusive instead of feeling on the outside."

They stock beverages with an "adult" sophistication and depth of flavor that you don't get from sparkling cider or club soda.

They have a full liquor license, and any cocktail on the restaurant's menu can be ordered with alcohol or without, Amy Wanderley-Britt said.

One is the Acapulco Smoke, so called because when you lift a lid from the top, a hint of smoke wafts into the air, leaving a wood-smoke aroma and flavor. The dry version uses Ritual brand "zero-proof" whiskey.

The Wanderley-Britts prefer the term "dry" instead of "mocktail."

"The term 'mocktail' feels like you are making a mockery of the cocktail, and we don't like that," said Vivi Wanderley-Britt.

She said there's a lot more detail that goes into crafting a nonalcoholic cocktail, "because often the alcohol gives the depth of the drink. So you have to develop the right amount of mixers and the spirit to make sure the taste is good. You might need a little kick with a spritzer or other things that they use."

WB's sells several shelves of alcohol-free beverages for take home and kits to order online, such as a Spicy Margarita box with Ritual tequila alternative and margarita mixer.

The good news for dieters is that many of these alcohol-free beverages are lower in calories. For instance, the Spiritless Kentucky 74 bourbon still imparts the oak, smoke, caramel and vanilla flavors, with 90% fewer calories -- 15 per 2-ounce serving.

Noughty brand white wine is 21 calories per serving.

"You can pop the cork and pour it like champagne," said Vivi Wanderley-Britt. "It's not going to be as sweet as sparkling apple cider."

The wine goes through the whole fermentation process, and then the alcohol is removed, explained Vivi. "It's an expensive process to remove the alcohol and keep the flavor profile."

This is why many of these beverages are priced similarly to alcoholic beverages. For instance, the Spiritless Kentucky 74 bourbon is $36.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle. Ritual brand rum is $26.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle.

Vivi's favorite sipper, Caipirinha, is a Brazilian drink made with lime and rum. WB's "secret menu" version uses nonalcoholic rum and lemon and pairs well with the restaurant's chimichurri steak entrée.

"I'm from Brazil, and Caipirinha is at every party," Vivi Wanderley-Britt said. "When I gave up alcohol, I was sad that I couldn't drink it anymore. But now I can."

The restaurant's mixologist, Vinny Pimenta, gives virtual classes for making custom drinks at home, either with alcohol or without.

"I teach people the tools of the bar and then help them create something unique that you won't find on any bar menu," he said.

The restaurant, opened in 2019, began offering the virtual classes when the COVID pandemic began. "We were looking for ways to let people hang out and not feel like they're on house arrest," Pimenta said. "With the nonalcoholic versions, you are able to create something healthy and tasty without any negative aspects of alcohol."


If you go

WB'S EATERY

Location: 455 25th St. at The Monarch. With current 25th Street construction, it's recommended to enter and park on Ogden Avenue, on the west side of the building.

Contact: wbseatery.com or 385-244-1471

Hours: 8 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Prices: $8 (cocktail) to $60 (no-alcohol cocktail kit)

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